I Am Michael

Yes or No_

Two James Franco movies in a row? What the hell is going on in the world? Well, I guess it serves me right for messing up Jillian’s first choice and only being able to find a non-subtitled copy, rendering it useless. This was Plan B.

I must admit I was attracted to the story and to Zachary Quinto‘s involvement – and this has been on my list for a little while, so I wasn’t that upset. Welcome to another post in April’s Based on a True Story category.

One man. Two lives.

I Am Michael (2015)

Based on the fascinating true-life story of Michael Glatze, a gay activist who becomes a Christian pastor after identifying as a heterosexual.

Starring: James Franco • Zachary Quinto • Emma Roberts

*Minor spoilers*

Michael (Franco) is in a happy, long term relationship with Bennett (Quinto). The pair live and work in San Francisco where Michael is a gay rights activist and editor of XY Magazine. Life is tough but good as the socially conscious pair explore the LGBT+ scene, sexual liberation and the challenges of being gay in the early noughties. They also get a dog together which is probably the most important milestone in this entire film, right?

You can do way better, Zach

All is well until Michael has a health scare, believing he is afflicted with the same heart condition that claimed his father’s life when he was just 13 (Michael, not his dad). His mother passed away six years later, when he was 19. Despite the doctors insistence that it is just a panic attack (later it is revealed that he has Celiac’s disease), it sends ripples of panic through Michael and he starts to question everything.

Unfortch, most of that is how his homosexuality can possibly live alongside his newfound religious beliefs – which it turns out, it can’t. So Michael explores several different faiths, including Mormonism and Buddhism, all the while renouncing cock, his friends and the gay lifestyle. This is a stinger for Bennett and their mutual friends who don’t understand Michael’s need to pursue his “true self”. And nobody can blame them for that.

Michael’s Frosted Tips Anonymous group was brutal at times

When Michael travels to Wyoming to attend a Christian bible camp, he meets Rebekah (Emma Roberts), a nice Christian girl also trying to figure out life (I hear you, gurl) – and they fall in love. Which is handy as Michael’s just about to become the pastor of his own church. How will Rebekah take the news of Michael’s fruity past?

Well, this film is fine but it’s pretty lack lustre if I’m honest. There’s nothing wrong with the performances but it’s very introspective and boring at times. I mean, the story is astonishing – and even though I am against it in so many ways – it is a true account of one man’s journey so I have to accept that.

I do have sympathy for anyone struggling with finding themselves and if Michael lived the life he truly wanted to then you can’t really argue with that. I just find it awful in one of the final scenes when he speaks to Bennett and refers to his former choices as ‘abnormal’.

Some of the secondary characters are pretty good, I have a lot of time for third wheel Tyler (Charlie Carver) who’s just adorable. But this is quite forgettable and it didn’t command my full attention either – so I haven’t hit you with a lot of detail because I was pottering around for a lot of it.

“I’m a hetero, CIS white guy now so you will listen to my bullshit…”

James Franco for the record irritates me so fucking much. He’s just so skeezy and I hope he doesn’t pop up in too many of our future films. Maybe we should ban him.

⭐⭐½ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What does wifey thing of our Plan B movie? Would she advocate for it like a boss or renounce it soon as look at it? Find out here, obvs where Jill gives a way more detailed take on the whole situation.

Adult World (Film) Review

adultworlddvdboxNo preamble this time. You know this month’s theme, though it looks like it’s heading into ‘Unintentional Cusack Sibling’ territory, which isn’t such a bad thing.

*Spoilers ahead*

Adult World (2013)

Director: Scott Coffey
Stars: Emma Roberts, John Cusack, Evan Peters

IMDB Synopsis: Amy, a naive college graduate who believes she’s destined to be a great poet, begrudgingly accepts a job at a sex shop while she pursues a mentorship with reclusive writer Rat Billings.

My Review:

Being an adult is hard, especially when everyone you love keeps telling you you have to start acting like one. This is exactly the kind of bullshit Amy is up against.

Why won’t everybody just let her live?

Thing is, nothing in this world is free, not even dreams, so wannabe poet laureate Amy is forced to find a job. Seems only the local sex shop is hiring, and girl, let me tell you I’ve been there. It’s not all bad though, as she gets to work with Evan Peters and be judgmental about the objectification of women in the movies they sell. Sweet.

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No clever caption for this I’m afraid

Alice is a bit of a whiner, so convinced of her own brilliance that she forces herself on reluctant, and formerly brilliant poet Rat Billings, who she’s basically obsessed with. He’s a dickhead past his prime to everybody but Amy, yet she is adamant she wants to be his protegé. That she gets almost nothing from him does not deter her, sadly.

Meanwhile, Amy makes friends with the fucking fabulous Rubia (Armando Riesco), and the old couple who own the cunningly named sex shop, Adult World. Her new bohemian family. Which works out pretty well for a would-be poet yet Amy’s still not content. Every piece of writing she submits to every single place she can think of comes back rejected.

To be helpful, Alex (Peters) suggests Amy submit some erotica to one of the top shelf magazines. Amy isn’t into this idea at first, not least because she’s a secret virgin herself. On a whim however, and under the influence of Jack Daniels, one evening she sends something off and promptly forgets about it. Somewhere along the line there’s a conversation about faking certain situations in writing which inspires her.

adult-world-movie-stills-d9b1c72ca0a57e53

How can any human resist the diamante bow tie?

Meanwhile, Rat is still playing hard to get and not giving Amy adequate feedback on her poems. Even when she drunkenly propositions him. Still, she is delighted when he offers to include one of her pieces in an anthology of new poets he’s currently working on.

You’re going to find this review a little light on the ground, and that’s because so is the plot around here. Amy whines, Rat lives up to his name and treats Amy to a life lesson and we all go home, basically. There’s a little light romance, which steps up its game after Amy and Alex row, and Amy finds out Alex is secretly a talented painter, and not just a sex-shop loser. She might also finally let go of her cherry.

amy-tantrum

She really, really hated men with acoustic guitars

Questions:

Will Amy fulfill her poetic destiny or does the universe have other ideas for her? Will Alex and Amy find common ground in love? Will anything come of Amy’s writing dreams?

Will you honestly care about anything other than the scenes featuring Rubia?

adult-world-emma-roberts

Plath should of written porn

My Thoughts:

Quite dull really. Makes light of suicide in the beginning which kind of bugged me but also lent itself to Amy’s character (AKA irritating). Emma Roberts is perfectly adequate in the role, semi-amusing a couple of times but doesn’t invoke much sympathy. I hated John Cusack too, sorry.

This could have been really great but was missing something, whatever that was. Maybe a stronger more relateable central protagonist. Perhaps I’m finally out of touch with ungrateful 22-year-olds wasting their talents?

I guess what I did like was the moral of the story: dreams are great to have, but sometimes you have to adapt them, just a little.

My Rating: 2.5/5. Meh. Instantly forgettable.

What did Jill think of Adult World? Was it her Plath or would she happily confine it to the bin? Find out here, obvs.